We Have Rights Online!

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The Young Scot 5Rights Youth Commission launched their final report, 'Our Digital Rights' in May 2017. Here, Youth Commissioners Olivia, Emma and Tristan discuss their project and some of their recommendations.

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In February 2016, the Young Scot 5Rights Youth Commission was launched by Young Scot, the Scottish Government and 5Rights. The aim of this project has been to gauge a true understanding of how we as young people across Scotland feel about our rights online, in order to represent our thoughts and ideas to the Scottish Government in the form of a report detailing our recommendations.

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The 5Rights project has taken 19 young people on a new and exciting journey to discover new corners of the online world and uncover problems faced by young people. From visiting Twitter and Facebook in London to learning about ethical hacking, the 5Rights group has spoken to a lot of interesting people to gain a new insight on the Internet. Our work has been based on the 5Rights framework, which looks at protecting and supporting young people in the online world from a holistic approach rather than blocking young people from the so-called ‘evils’ of the Internet.

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From our investigation, we hear from leaders in Education who agree with us that change can be made, and it can be made soon with regards to schools taking on more responsibilities in realising our rights as young people online.  We do believe however that schools should play a large role in truly making this a success.  Teachers, parents and carers must understand that they have never had to do what many young people are struggling with every day.

In particular, one of our recommendations is to establish a young digital champion’s programme within schools and in local areas. This idea would set up a space where people could go to and talk about what is going on in their online life and the struggles they are facing. It is important that schools realise that bullying and targeting is no longer something people just have to face at school, and no longer is there a safe space to return to at home.  The line has become blurred and for many young people it can be hard to juggle two lives with little space to go. We as the 5Rights Youth Commission believe that we have a right to safety and support online. This can be implemented by giving young people the knowledge of where to go and what to do when they are faced with an uncomfortable scenario online.

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In addition, we have delved into the responsibilities young people hold online and we believe we should have the right to delete. Often we make mistakes online that may catch up with us later in life, and we deserve the ability to delete it. Although this is extremely important young people must also take responsibility when nasty comments are said online and taught that just because we are sitting behind a keyboard, nasty comments are still wrong.

Schools should take on responsibility to create a supportive environment in which young people are empowered to share their experiences of their digital life. What we have learnt is that the online world is something extremely complex, that often we don’t truly understand. If there was an open space to talk with one another, it would help us to realise that often our experiences online aren’t all that different. Moreover, chatting openly is important.

Our Digital Rights

The 5Rights Youth Commission has now published their findings and recommendations. To find out more about our ideas, please have a look at our final report, 'Our Digital Rights.

You can find out more about the 5Rights framework, and the rights that young people have online here, or on the main 5Rights campaign website.